Sydney: Australia launched a multimedia campaign on Friday about the dangers to foreign students of "opportunistic crime", after a spate of attacks on Indians that inflamed diplomatic tensions.
"Think Before -- A Student Safety Initiative" was developed for social media and mobile phone platforms, and features video of an animated would-be student, George, warning about potential risks when travelling.
"International students are more likely to respond to information sent from web, mobile and social media tools than traditional communications channels," said Victoria police inspector Ian Geddes, one of the campaign`s architects.
"Think Before demonstrates our commitment to getting the message about personal safety to our international student community, to help them avoid becoming victims of opportunistic crime."
The video is available in English and 12 other languages including Chinese, Hindi, Punjabi, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Thai and Vietnamese, representing the main groups of foreign students enrolled in Australia.
It had attracted a "particularly robust" response in China and Hong Kong since being rolled out for a testing period two weeks ago, campaign managers said, with thousands of hits to the www.thinkbefore.com site.
There are an estimated 650,000 international students from more than 100 countries pursuing university or vocational studies in Australia, and the government said it took their safety seriously.
Australia attracted unwanted international headlines earlier this year after a spate of attacks against Indian students, including one murder, inflamed tensions between the two countries.
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith was forced to pay a visit to New Delhi in March, where he acknowledged a number of the attacks had been racially motivated and had damaged Australia`s reputation.
Australia`s education industry is worth an annual USD 15.5 billion to the economy, and has also been hit by allegations that educational institutions lured foreign students with the promise of permanent residence.